Five ways to prepare for #INKTOBER success

Are you taking part in Inktober this year? Theres just ONE WEEK left till the start of October, so I thought now would be a good time to post a few ideas to prep for Inktober success.

NOTE: Its worth noting that I have never actually COMPLETED an Inktober- however this year I am determined to complete the challenge, and I’m hoping doing these things will help achieve that. Hopefully they help you too!

1. Collect some inspiration/references
Start to collect some visual reference and look at ink artists that you admire for inspiration. Collecting in a pinterest board helps to pull together a variety of references.

Study your favourite artists ink technique and style, and see if there’s anything you’d like to try out technique-wise this year.

2. Create a theme and plan it out

  • Work out and plan what you are going to draw for the month. This could be a general theme, a specific prompt for each day of the month or using the month to work on a series of images that contribute toward a larger project.
    Having an idea of what you are going to draw each day will save time and make it easier to get started. This was a major hurdle for me in the past, so this year I am spending time planning it out well in advance. If you’d like prompts, Jake Parker has created an official list for this year!

  • I’m going an extra step and doing rough thumbnails in advance so I will have something to draw when it gets busy!! And I don’t have an excuse not to do it.
    I’m not sure if this is strictly within the ‘rules’ of Inktober, but I have decided to do this in order to stick to the challenge.

3. Gather your supplies.

This must be the easiest step! Inktober might be a good time to try out some new supplies and techniques. Prep some paper and ink supplies in advance so you are all ready to go on the 1st of October.

Current favourite pens are ZIG Mangaka flexible pen in black, a cheap Luxor fountain pen and my old secondhand technical pens (shown here is a Staedtler Marsmatic 700- a great pen!).
For paper I really like Zeta paper from Gordon Harris.

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4. Practice your technique:

Practice with your brush or pen, and different papers to find a combination you like and start to feel comfortable with. Inktober is a good time to perfect your technique, but having a bit of experience under your belt will help you to jump straight in to your first drawing with some confidence.

Some useful technique resources:

Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill
How to Ink, class on SVS Learn
The Technical Pen by Gary Simmons (great if you use traditional technical pens, such as Rotring or Rapidograph)
Any books by Claudia Nice, especially this one.

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trying out ink techniques in a previous inktober challenge

5. Plan a regular daily routine where you have time to draw.

This was one of the main tips Jake Parker mentioned in this video.
I’m planning to wake up early in the morning in order to squeeze in some extra time to complete the daily drawings


+AN EXTRA TIP!

Don’t expect too much from your drawings. I think its important to not put too much into the end result of each illustration- they don’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to post them online if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (though if you do- don’t forget to tag #Inktober and #Inktober2017)

I hope these tips help you- I’d love to know if you are taking part in Inktober, and if so, have you made any plans of what you are going to be drawing?

For more info check out the official website: http://inktober.com/

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the 100 days project – sketch-booking!

On April 6th an interesting challenge starts- #The100DaysProject, run by ElleLuna and The Great Discontent.

Quoted from the website:

It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making.

– The Great Discontent

You choose one creative thing to do everyday for 100 days- from April 6th to July 14th, and post your results on social media.

I have never done a challenge that lasted so long, the longest was probably last years Inktober– and to be honest I did not create something every day.

Continue reading “the 100 days project – sketch-booking!”

sketches from russell

I recently came back from a 5 day trip to Russell (in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand) which was a lot of fun.

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the view from the main street in russell

 Here are some of the sketches I made on the trip! I was aiming to fill the whole sketchbook I made, but ended up with a sketch-a-day…

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sketches of abby, and the weka that live on the campground where we stayed

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the campground set in bush that is kiwi and weka habitat- the weka are very curious and like to investigate the tents and pinch food. They were also really fast and difficult to sketch!

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unfinished sketch- view of the campground from the nearby mangroves

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The sketchbook I used was a repurposed hard back book that had been withdrawn from the library I work at. I refilled it with my new favourite paper- Lana Dessin drawing paper (which is only $3 for a large sheet- enough to fill this book!). Its great because its 220gsm and you can also use watercolour on it easily.

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I brought a small watercolour travel set, my waterbrush and other drawing supplies (pencils+pens)- all kept in a click-clack container to stop them getting water damage etc.

Next time I’ll have many more pages left to fill!

till next time,

emma

inktober week 3 round-up

just one week left of the inktober challenge! I haven’t been inktober-ing every day of the week- mainly because I’ve been focussing on getting an illustration portfolio all made up (a big job!!)- but have been trying to make 3 or 4 inked pieces a week.

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more toucan drawings! a sort-of story line is developing with them…

This week I also got hold of a pack of Sharpie Brush tip markers in a bargain bin at the Warehouse Stationery (I think I’ll do a full review of these too at some stage). I’ve been trying them out a bit too as you can see below- I got the ‘fashion colors’ set; lovely bright colours of lime green, aqua, hot pink and purple.

 

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drawn onto a piece of recycled cardboard…those pens bleed right through regular paper!

then corrected in photoshop:

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All set for the last week of Inktober? I’ll be sad when its over!!

see you in a couple of days with a newly reviewed Illustrated book of the Month.

emma

inktober week 2

second week of Inktober is over! Here are the inky sketches I did this week- all india ink with calligraphy brush:

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a forget me not flower sprig (really close up) because they are everywhere at the moment. It kinda looked better in my head…

Then I thought I’d try and expand on the little Toucan character that I sketched out a few weeks back (apparently that was actually a few months ago!!), and that ended up being what I did for the rest of the weeks sketches:

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compare this, to this…

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the difference a good paper makes! The first was done on cartridge paper, the second in a cheap Montmarte watercolour (190gsm) sketch book. I have found my favourite inking paper and will be doing all the rest of my inktober sketches on it.

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and

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Thats all for this week of the challenge.Are you taking part in Inktober? Have you managed to do a sketch for every day so far?

emma

inktober challenge week 1

hey everyone!

here is a round up of the #inktober sketches from this week. I didn’t get around to doing one every day- that’s my goal for next week!!

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some of the most endangered species in the world, kuretake brush pen

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wish upon a star, asian calligraphy brush and india ink

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no man is an island, asian calligraphy brush and india ink / gouache

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basic leaf shapes for a small project idea I had, calligraphy brush and india ink

Lots of fun and so far I’m finding it a really useful way to create more stuff!

I’d love to hear if you too are getting involved in Inktober– leave a comment below.

hope you have a lovely weekend,

emma

inktober challenge is here!

Hi everyone,

I hope you enjoyed the mini sketchbook tutorial! If you haven’t seen it yet- check it out- its an easy little project to make despite the length of the post!!

October is here- and that means a new challenge that I’ve been waiting to take part in for a few months now- INKTOBER!!

Inktober is a challenge that was created by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009 as a way to practice his inking skills- now its a worldwide phenomenon that artists take part in! The idea is that you make an inked drawing every day for the 31 days of October, then if you want, post it online with the hashtag #inktober. There are some awesome resources on the website, I recommend checking it out!

This year I’m taking part and will be posting every day on my instagram account– and will do a weekly round up of all 7 drawings here on the blog.

Here is my first drawing (was also part of a skillshare class I’m taking part in!)

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endangered species- inked with a kuretake brush pen!

I better hop to it to get todays drawing done!

Are you taking part in this years Inktober challenge? If you are please leave a comment with your website/instagram/tumblr/facebook below so we can all follow along with the work that you do!

emma

TUTORIAL: make a custom mini sketchbook for sketching on-the-go!

If you followed along a couple of weeks ago- I did a week long sketch book challenge (all the sketches from the week are up now).  The sketches were done in my handmade sketchbook (made from recycled computer paper) with an HB pencil. Doing this challenge has made me realize how much more practice I need at using my sketchbook!! I think next I am going to try ballpoint pen sketching- check out the amazing sketchbook work of Pat Perry, for inspiration!!

This week I’m going to be showing you how I make these little pocket-sized sketchbooks so you can make one of your own. The only way to make sketching a habit is to have your paper and pencil with you at all times and then to use it (<–essential step). This little sketchbook fulfills at least one half of the equation- and is dirt cheap to boot. I think cheapness is the essential requirement in a sketchbook- as it means you are not so afraid to mess it up!

I came up with this design after trying a few bought journals as well as making a few of my own (see this post)– but this is the only little sketchbook that I really like using so far.

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what-you-will-need

What you will need:

Paper: I used recycled computer paper (21 x 29.7cm- A4 size) from the bin at my work (most if it had hardly any printing on it at all)- which is lightweight (more pages) and fine for sketching (and the cheapness of it means you will be less afraid to mess it up- and therefore be more free with what you doodle). I would recommend trying this out first, but if you use a lot of watermedia for sketching, you can definitely try this same process out with watercolour paper (you will end up making less pages though as the paper is so much thicker).

You’ll need 6 A4 size pages if you follow this tutorial exactly.

Card: for cover. I used a piece of navy card stock I had lying around, probably around 300gsm at a guess? Its not very heavy-weight. You can definitely use thicker card but I quite like the flexibility of the cover on this one.

Thicker (decorative) paper for end papers- go crazy with patterns if you like! I just used some white or black card because I didn’t have anything else at the time.

A sharp needle

Strong thread (I used linen thread (this one), but heavy-duty furnishing thread will also work really well)

Sharp stanley/exacto knife

Cutting mat

Piece of foam (optional- helps in punching holes in paper signatures)

Ruler

Scissors

PVA glue+brush

a few bull clips

1. Assemble your printer paper (or other paper of choice), and mark off one sheet into thirds (make a mark at every 9.9cm) along the longest length. Cut into three sections using your exacto knife and ruler. if you are using paper of a different size to A4 the final dimensions of your pages should be 210mm x 99mm

cut-a4-paper

2. Fold each ‘page’ in half. You will end up with 18 folded pages- which you will then split into three lots of six. Stack each of the pages within one another to make three signatures of 6 folded pages each (12 leaves in each signature).

assemble-signatures

ready-to-bind

3. To mark off the points where you will be making holes for binding the signatures together, stack the three signatures on top of each other so they are well aligned. Its helpful to use a bulldog clip to hold them in position so they don’t move whilst you make your marks.

Then mark off five points along the ‘spine’- at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9cm (I do this by centring the ruler at 5 as the middle of the stack). Make your marks along the top signature in pencil, and then use a ruler to rule across the spine (over the three signatures) so each now has a pencil mark in the same position.

mark-off-your-spine

From this point on, try and keep the signatures in the same order and orientation through the following steps to make your resulting book look as nice as possible.

4. Now make your holes in each signature at the points previously marked off, using a sharp needle. Open up each signature of 6 pages and use the needle to make an even hole at each of the five marked off points. It can be really helpful to place a soft bit of foam behind the paper stack or something else you can pin into, so your holes get to the full size of the needle and look nice and neat.

make-holes

punching-holes

5. Now its time to stitch your signatures together. Instead of doing a terrible job of explaining how to do that here- check out the wonderful tutorial by Damask Love on creating a book block- these were the same instructions I used to bind this book and its the best instructions I’ve come across for the stitching process:

Bookbinding University: How to Make a Text Block from DamaskLove on Vimeo.

stitching

stitch-2

stitch-3

6. Now your book block is all bound together- its time to glue the spine to make it more sturdy. I applied PVA glue over the bound edge (after having clamped it with a bull clip) and let it dry. I did this twice to make it nice and strong. You have now created your own book block!

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7. Time to cut your cover and endpapers. Cut an A4 piece of card length-ways into a strip 10cm wide.

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Score a line approximately in the middle of the strip (at ~15cm) and fold the card neatly. Then place your bound book block with the glued spine butted up against the 90 degree angle made by the card. Take a pencil and mark off the width of the book block spine. This gives you the width required for the spine of the cover.

measure-spine

Score along this line and fold. The cover edges will now stick out way past the book block- so trim them down to the exact size by opening one cover side and using a pencil to mark the edge of the book block on that side, then repeat for the other cover. Trim them down to size with your exacto knife.

cut-down-cover

You now have a cover ready to glue!

8. Before you can glue your book together, you need to make your end papers (which are pieces of paper that sit between your cover and the book block, and help to stick the book together).

You want your endpapers to be the same width as the regular pages, so in this case 9.9cm wide. I cut an A4 piece of card in half length-ways, which gives you two long strips that when folded will stick out of your book (between the cover and the book block) when you insert them. Leave them long for now.

This is what you’ll have so far:

parts-of-your-book
endpapers

9. Assembling your sketchbook: First step is to glue the endpapers onto your book block. Apply PVA glue onto one side of your endpaper from the folded edge (spine end) outward, about 2/3rds across the endpaper, towards the outer edge. Align your endpaper so the edges are equal with the edges of the book block, and press the endpaper firmly onto block. Apply the other endpaper in the same manner to the other side of the book block. Clamp this to dry overnight.

Once it is dry you can trim the long ends of the endpapers so they are flush with the pages of the textblock.

glue-endpaper

clamp

10. Now its time to glue your text block+endpapers into the cover. Apply glue over the inside of the cover of the sketchbook- from the spine outwards across ~1/3rd of the front and back covers. Put extra glue on the spine. Place your text block into the cover so all the sides of the block are well aligned with the cover.

endpaperrs-glued-on

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Now your book block is fully glued into the cover, clamp the book together with a bull clip or two- or even better, place under a stack of heavy books (less chance of getting marks on your cover from the clips)- and leave to dry overnight.

You’ve made your own sketchbook!!

get-sketching

Let me know what you think of this tutorial!

emma

Sketch a day September 15-21- CHARACTER challenge

If you remember, I mentioned I was going to attempt to do a sketch daily challenge for a week during September. Well, the week is here, and so I am going to be posting a little random character that I came up with, one for every day this week. The idea is to come up with a character from your imagination (not drawing from life here) which is supposed to be a useful creative exercise.

Please join along if you would like to (send me an email with your sketch and I’ll post them on the blog too). Remember, these are sketches, not beautiful final art works!! I purposely use my very cheap recycled paper sketchbook that I made myself as this helps me to be less worried about what I am drawing and if its going to be perfect or not. (Notice that the eraser even took away some of the paper on the first page!). They don’t need to take long, quickly doodle something down while you’re waiting for the train, or watching tv etc.

I will be posting all the weeks sketches on this page, and at the end of the week, I’ll post a tutorial on how I made my little hand-bound sketchbook (which has been a huge help in getting me to sketch more often) so you can try it out yourself at home.

Without further ado, here is

DAY ONE- 

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 a little rabbit frolicking in the sun

DAY TWO-

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inspired by the red-footed tortoise in this story

DAY THREE

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saw my first puriri moth of the new season this morning!

DAY FOUR- oops been a bit slack with uploading the last few days sketches….

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a little kitten after our own kitten Lily- she has a very subtle striped tail in some lights

and runs like a little squirrel whenever she escapes outside (which I wasn’t really able to get in this sketch…)

DAY FIVE-

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a little dog I saw waiting outside a cafe on my way to work. every time the door opened he tried to get in to find his owner.

DAY SIX-

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its freezing here so i drew a woolly mammoth for today….

DAY SEVEN-

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Last day! I drew a rhino because September 22nd is world rhino day #worldrhinoday

That was fun- good practice for Inktober, which is coming up in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned for my next post which will be a tutorial on binding your own mini sketch book!

emma